Humanity Ascends

The Foundation for Conscious Evolution’s New Film Series

by Felicia M. Tomasko

“I’m afraid I won’t live to see my youngest daughter’s children,” a friend lamented to me on the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. This was not out of concern for her health, but rather for the health of the planet — or, more accurately, for humanity. All a person needs to do to feel a sense of despair these days is turn on the news, open most newspapers, or log onto their home­page. We are constantly greeted with announcements of destruction, death, and societal and environmental degradation. But not everyone views our current situation as bleak and hopeless.

The same day that my friend was nearly in tears, I spoke with visionary author and teacher Barbara Marx Hubbard, cofounder and president of the Santa Barbara-based Foundation for Conscious Evolution. Through her individual work and the foundation, she hopes to inspire humanity’s ability to survive and thrive. She sees this time in history as a pivotal moment, when we have the opportunity to evolve — to engage in what she refers to as co-creation of a new world view.

To foster that, the foundation is producing a series of seven DVD programs, to be released during the next two years, titled Humanity Ascending. The first is Our Story, narrated and presented by Marx Hubbard herself. The program begins with the iconic image of an atomic explosion, which symbolizes for us the constant threat of annihilation that was unthinkable before the 20th century. According to Marx Hubbard, the threat has escalated since 9/11, which showed that “anyone who is disaffected and angry” can gain power. And what’s more frightening than even nuclear war is that, according to Marx Hubbard, “the world is aware that destruction could come from anywhere.”

But there is hope, and this is the vital message of Humanity Ascending. In Our Story, Marx Hubbard traces the process of 14 billion years’ evolution, from the proliferation of subatomic particles to the creation of human societies. In so doing, the film highlights our capacity to transcend our limits and realize our potential.

For Marx Hubbard, evolution isn’t quite as science has told us. “Material-based science has given us a limited view of evolution. It is purposeless, directionless, and meaningless, based on chance and necessity,” she explained. “I do not hold that view. There is another view emerging, that evolution is the process through which consciousness creates a universe of higher order.”

In this “process,” we have come to a crucial time, according to Marx Hubbard. “I look and see that we have come to the end of one phase of consciousness, one form of growth and behavior. Species face this all the time: the choice to learn to cooperate with ecological factors or go extinct. If we will survive, we must learn to cooperate.”

The impetus for this cooperation, according to Marx Hubbard, is the looming sense of destruction. And it’s about time someone focused on the shift, because, as Marx Hubbard explained, “We have university degrees and training programs in place to maintain the status quo, to train lawyers and stockbrokers, athletes and musicians, but few study how to evolve the planet.” For those brave souls ready to volunteer, Humanity Ascending outlines a curriculum.

4•1•1 The premiere of Our Story, part of the Humanity Ascending series, is Thursday, September 28 at the Riviera Theatre at 7 p.m. A discussion with Barbara Marx Hubbard will follow. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased in advance at Paradise Found on Anapamu Street. Call 682-3222 or visit for more information.

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